TV reviews: ‘Back to You,’ ‘Gossip Girl’

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“Back to You” (Wednesdays, Fox): “Frasier” star Kelsey Grammer and “Everybody Loves Raymond” star Patricia Heaton play Pittsburgh news anchors who are reunited when he comes crawling back after failing in L.A. He’s pompous and arrogant; she’s exasperated and brassy. Seems they had a fling once, too. The sitcom is familiar and easy-going, right down to the overactive laugh track and the “oh no you di’int!” sex jokes. Fred Willard plays the old-school sexist sports anchor, and Fred Willard is always a welcome sight. I laughed three or four times during the first episode and was generally amused the rest of the time in a mindless, unchallenging sort of way. TiVo verdict: It’s not a show I’d watch on purpose, but if I were flipping channels and happened upon it, I’d stick around.

“Gossip Girl” (Wednesdays, The CW): OMG you guys, the guy who created “The O.C.” totally created a new show! And it’s based on a series of young-adult books! Apparently! “Gossip Girl” is about idle rich Upper East Side teenagers who sit around being snotty to each other while they drink champagne and smoke marijuana. Their doings are reported on a blog written by the anonymous Gossip Girl (who we hear in voice-over, and it’s the voice of Veronica Mars herself, Kristen Bell). The pilot episode — in which queen bee Serena comes back to town after a mysterious year-long absence — didn’t indicate what tone the series will take. It wasn’t smart or witty enough to be legitimately enjoyable (the way the first season of “The O.C.” was), but neither was it campy enough to be a trashy guilty pleasure. All the juicy subplots introduced in the pilot suggest it could be “Dynasty Junior”; who knows if they’ll make it as fun as it could be? TiVo verdict: I sort of want to know what happens next … but not enough to expend the energy to tell TiVo to record it next week. That’s the kind of show it is.

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